Performances at the Legendary SOBs were nothing less than legendary

Morgan-Taylor Thomas

Wednesday, March 17

Live from New York, it’s The Legendary SOBs, Sounds of Brazil, Latinx Night 1.

The second installment in the SOBs South by Southwest virtual 2021 festival, Latinx Night 1, occurred Wednesday night. Once again, hundreds of music fanatics tuned in to watch the mix of bachata, reggaeton and cumbia artists. 

The showcase was hosted by AJ “El Kallejero” Ramos, the U.S. Latin and Latin America Artist Relations Manager at Youtube. Ramos spoke of Marc Anothony and other prominent Latinx artists who began their careers on the exact same stage. 

The opener of the night was bachata duo JFab & Paola Fabre. From the second they took the stage, the virtual audience was blowing up the comments with rave reviews. The melodic symphony created by the perfect balance of bongos, drums, guitar, keys and vocals make this performance the perfect opener.

Next was female powerhouse Séssi. To capture the audience’s attention, the artist started with a light piano and guitar combination, followed by the crescendo of a symbol. Then, the spunk of an emotional pop ballad took over the artist and produced a smooth, yet catchy, tempo that made the audience want to dance. Séssi ended the performance with an abrupt halt after a belted high note.

Rombai performed third, and between the artist’s cumbia cadence and confident swagger, Rombai delivered two songs full of energy and hip-hop — a pleasant twist from what usually comes with the rhythms of cumbia. 

The first headliner performance came from Domino Saints, a Puerto Rican duo focused on pop and reggaeton. Unlike the previous artists, Domino Saints started their performance in English with their 2020 single “BUYA.” Throughout their three-song set, Domino Saints acted as if the house was packed, looking into cameras, jumping up and down on stage and having the time of their lives. 

The showcase ended with headliner Yendry. Even though they haven’t participated in a live performance since the start of the pandemic, Yendry came in full swing. With immaculate energy and an angelic voice, Yendry gave a performance unlike any other. All four songs in the artist’s set told a story of life, full of raw emotion and Dominican beats that spoke to the artist’s roots. It was the perfect full circle ending to the first night of SOBs Latinx performances.

Tuesday, March 16

Live from New York, it’s The Legendary SOBs, Sounds of Brazil.

Although it happened virtually, hundreds of music fanatics tuned in to watch the first round of hip-hop artists performing in the Legendary SOBs’ showcase Tuesday night at South by Southwest Online 2021. 

The showcase was hosted by Miabelle, radio personnel for New York’s Hot97 and Philadelphia's 100.3. Miabelle opened the show with a quick synopsis of the Legendary SOBs’ history, including how some of the greatest hip-hop artists and rappers (Jay-Z, J-Cole, Big Sean, Kendrick Lamar and Nicki Minaj, just to name a few) started their careers right there on that stage. 

Performing first was Harlem, New York native NinoMan. With the simple white backdrop of the stage, NinoMan’s aggressive, yet solid, freestyle was the centerpoint of the artist’s show. At the end of NinoMan’s seven and a half minutes, viewers couldn’t help but want to see more.

Next to perform was music journalist turned rapper Rob Markman. The authenticity of Markman’s story, sung through his song, “The Dakota,” combined the relaxed rhythms of R&B and piano with the harsh tempo of rap, allowing Markman to bring the audience along for the ride.

The showcase also brought us J'Zapal (aka Jhonnie Blaze) and LION BABE, who were two refreshing female-led performances that cut through the expected hard beats of rap. Between J’Zapal’s heart song of R&B and soul and LION BABE’s composite of hip-hop, disco and funk, the performances made viewers feel like they could fall madly in love one minute and get up and groove the next. 

Also featured was Souly Had from Albany, New York. The relaxed demeanor, confidence and head-bopping tunes Souly Had presented made the audience feel as if they were sitting in the room with the artist. 

Lonr., an artist who pulls from multiple genres to give the audience an unexpected, yet delightful experience, also joined the showcase. Starting with an orchestral background to open the first song, Lonr. sang as if it were open mic night at a spoken word contest. The cadence of the lyrics flew out of Lonr.’s mouth at a tempo that made viewers close their eyes and vibe.

Phony Ppl performed next, and in true Phony Ppl fashion, provided nothing but immaculate energy and a perfect balance between instrumental chords and vocals. The fusion of jazz, soul, R&B and funk allowed the group to be, as their song says, “on their shit tonight.”

The Legendary SOBs showcase finished with DDG and guests. Each virtual audience member blew up the live discussion comment section with praise and virtual clapping as they watched the artist articulate at fast tempos and perform as if the venue was fully packed. The event had an enormous amount of energy and virtual crowd interaction.